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Artists, Dates and Theme Announced for Manar Abu Dhabi

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Jumairy. Luciferin Shores. 2023. Image courtesy of the artist and DCT Abu Dhabi 2023

Public Art Abu Dhabi has announced the artists, dates and theme for the inaugural edition of Manar Abu Dhabi, an exhibition of newly commissioned and site-specific light works by local and international artists.

Public Art Abu Dhabi was launched earlier this year by the Department of Cultural and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi). Set to run from 15 November 2023 to 30 January 2024, Manar (the Arabic word for “lighthouse”) is themed Grounding Light and celebrates Abu Dhabi’s natural beauty and casts a fresh perspective on the city’s coastal areas.  

The exhibition is co-curated by Reem Fadda, director of Abu Dhabi Culture Programming and Cultural Foundation and artistic director of Public Art Abu Dhabi, and Emirati artist Alia Zaal Lootah.

Featuring more than 35 artworks spanning across light projections, sculptures, installations and performances, Manar will take place at various locations throughout the UAE capital including Lulu, Saadiyat, Jubail, Al Samaliyah and Fahid islands, other coastal areas such as Corniche Road, and the Eastern mangroves.

See the full artist list below:

Ahmed Al Areef Al Dhaheri (b. 1988) UAE
Ayesha Hadhir (b. 1994) UAE
Alaa Edris (b. 1986) UAE
Asma Belhamar (b. 1988) UAE
Ayman Zedani (b. 1984) Saudi Arabia
Carsten Höller (b. 1961) Germany
Groupe F (est. 1990) France
Jim Denevan (b. 1961) USA
Jumairy (b. 1992) UAE
Latifa Saeed (b. 1985) UAE
Luciana Abait (b. 1971) Argentina
Mohammed Kazem (b. 1969) UAE
Nadia Kaabi-Linke (b. 1978) Tunisia
Nujoom Alghanem (b. 1962) UAE
Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (b. 1967) Mexico
Rain Wu (b. 1987) Taiwan
Samia Halaby (b. 1936) Palestine
Shaikha Al Ketbi (b. 1995) UAE
Rawdha Al Ketbi (b. 1997) UAE
Shezad Dawood (b. 1974) UK
Shilpa Gupta (b. 1976) India
teamLab (est. 2001) Japan

HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of DCT Abu Dhabi, said: “Manar Abu Dhabi is more than just an art exhibition. It’s a testament to our long standing and continued commitment to public art and the cultural growth of our city. While appealing to audiences across the Abu Dhabi community and beyond, we especially aim to inspire the young minds who are our future.”

“With Manar, we are engaging our community in a dialogue that connects the aesthetic, historical, and social values of the city,” Rita Aoun, DCT Abu Dhabi’s Culture Sector executive director, said. “The magic of light art is its ability to transcend traditional boundaries, bringing together people from all walks of life. We hope that every Abu Dhabi resident and visitor will sense a newfound connection to the city, inspired by the visual narrative woven by exceptionally talented artists.”

Reem Fadda said: “Grounding Light is an experience designed to transform our perception of the world around us. The exhibition brings together an extraordinary array of artists whose works are intended to foster a sense of calm, engagement and appreciation of Abu Dhabi’s unique biodiversity and natural beauty.”

Alia Zaal Lootah added: “The exhibition programme reflects the rich cultural legacy and contemporary aspirations of our city. This immersive public art platform will further shape the creative expression of the city and inspire community engagement by offering residents and visitors the opportunity to engage and connect with art in some of Abu Dhabi’s most beautiful natural locations.”

In addition to the main exhibition, Manar Abu Dhabi will feature a public programme of talks, workshops and art performances.

Other initiatives under Public Art Abu Dhabi, launched in March 2023, include the Public Art Abu Dhabi Biennial, set to take place in November 2024, and artist commissions.